Kuwaiti group looking to acquire Edinburgh's historic Menzies business ups stakes in battle

Edinburgh-headquartered John Menzies has said it has not received a further proposal from its Kuwait-based suitor that has bought a 13.2 per cent stake in the aviation services group.

National Aviation Services (NAS) said its affiliate Agility Strategies had acquired about 12.1 million shares in Menzies at 605p each, becoming its largest single shareholder.

Menzies, which is one of Scotland’s oldest companies, has previously rejected a 510p-a-share bid proposal from NAS – and has now urged its shareholders to “take no action at this time”.

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NAS said an offer of 605p per share would, if made, represent a premium of about 109 per cent to Menzies’ closing share price of 290p on February 2.

Edinburgh-headquartered Menzies Aviation operates at more than 200 airports in some 37 countries, supported by a team of 25,000 people.

Chief executive Hassan El-Houry said: “The acquisition of this significant stake demonstrates our seriousness and belief that a combination of Menzies and NAS offers a compelling opportunity to all stakeholders.

“If we were to make an offer at 605p per share, it would represent a premium of 109 per cent to Menzies’ share price just over two weeks ago. Once again we urge the Menzies board to engage with us.”

Menzies said in response that “there can be no certainty that any firm offer for Menzies will be made nor as to the terms on which any firm offer may be made”. It added that its board is confident in the execution of its strategy.

John Menzies started out in 1833, with the newspaper distribution business spun out in 2018, leaving the rest of the firm to focus on aviation services. Last month, the group reported a solid performance in recent months despite the travel sector being battered by the pandemic.

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